…are a million to one, he said. But still they come!
Or so Jeff Wayne would have had us believe. But I’m not so sure. I think the Martians were the fall guys, either taking orders from a much more sinister alien race, or possibly not ever being there at all – after all, inside a fighting machine, who can tell a Martian from some other creature?
It always struck me as odd how the amazing journey of the Martians across millions of miles of implacable void – a journey that must have taken weeks, if not months – seemed to be let down by their ramshackle technology. At Horsell Common, we are told “Next morning, a crowd gathered on the Common, hypnotized by the unscrewing of the cylinder. Two feet of shining screw projected when, suddenly, the lid fell off!” Fell off? FELL OFF? They build space ships where the door opens by falling off? It doesn’t seem quite right somehow.
And the ending – the mighty Martians with their heat rays and black smoke and tripod walkers and space freighters haven’t heard of bacteria. They can conquer space, but they haven’t invented the alcohol-gel hand-wipe. (Or tentacle wipe, I suppose.)